At an early age, Don Zarin developed an urge to travel and a fascination with different cultures. To nourish his interest while a student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, he created a unique, junior year abroad program in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his law degree and Masters Degree in Economic Development from George Washington University. After completing law school and before joining the workforce, he traveled around the world for a year. He served as legal counsel to Palau in its negotiations with the U.S government for a Treaty of Free Association, and assisted in the drafting of a Constitution. Don returned to Turkey often, representing President Ozal of Turkey on an international trade issue and helping to set up a legal office in Istanbul.
As a partner in Holland & Knight’s Washington, DC, office, Don represented and counseled U.S. and foreign companies on a wide range of international trade and commercial matters. He is a leading attorney in the area of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and anti-corruption practices. He was appointed by the Department of Justice to serve for three years as an independent Compliance Monitor in a major Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement case. He is the author of a leading textbook on anticorruption. He served as an adjunct professor of International Trade Law at Columbus School of Law, Catholic University.
In 2015, Don took a one-year sabbatical from Holland & Knight and worked as a volunteer for Mercy Corps in Kenya. There, he worked on a range of legal issues in Kenya and other East African countries. He advised and mentored small business youth entrepreneurs, and directed a market assessment of a development project in Turkana, Kenya. He conducted business training to small businesses in Uganda and interviewed beneficiaries of a development project in southern Ethiopia for a video documenting the success of the project. While living in Kenya, Don served as a guest lecturer on corruption at Strathmore University Law School, wrote an op-ed article on corruption in a leading Kenyan newspaper and gave a speech on corruption at the annual Pan American Lawyers Union conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
Don was so impressed with Mercy Corps – its mission, supported by the expertise, devotion and warmth of the staff—and found his experience so rewarding that, upon semi-retiring from the law firm, he again volunteered to work on various projects in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Jordan/Syria.
Don lives in McLean, VA, and spends his free time with his wife, kids and grandkids. He enjoys traveling, studying French, going to the race track, flying airplanes, and sitting on the beach with a good book. He is currently writing a book about his father.